Thermocapillary micromanipulation: force characterization and Cheerios interactions

  • Ronald Terrazas
  • Adrien De Maeijer
  • Aude BolopionEmail author
  • Michaël Gauthier
  • Michel Kinnaert
  • Pierre Lambert
Research Paper


Thermocapillary micromanipulation is an emerging non-contact micromanipulation technique, allowing to displace particles in the liquid bulk or at the free surface. When the particles are at the free surface and the surface is heated from the top, the actuation force is repulsive and not attractive. The handling technique is then intrinsically unstable. Therefore, control schemes have been reported recently to deal with this instability. They are based on an experimental characterization of the physical system (depending on the laser, the liquid and the particle properties). In this paper, we explain how we could make use of these handling schemes to estimate the thermocapillary force developed by the laser on the particle to be about 8 nN. This work is a first step towards the handling of multiple particles at the air/liquid interface.


Thermocapillary micromanipulation Capillary forces Optofluidics Feedforward Capillary dipole Cheerios effect 



Supported by 7/38 MicroMAST IAP (Belspo, Belgium) and by the EIPHI Graduate School (contract “ANR-17-EURE-0002”).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TIPs DptUniversité libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.AS2M dpt, FEMTO-STBesançonFrance
  3. 3.SAAS DptUniversité libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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